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Egypt’s soilless farming revolution is underway

In the arid landscapes of Egypt, where the Nile River has long been the lifeline for agriculture, a groundbreaking agricultural revolution is taking root, soilless farming.

In recent years, Egypt has been increasingly thwarted by water scarcity. The Nile, which has been the nation’s primary source of water for agriculture, is being put under growing pressure due to factors such as climate change, population growth, and local pollution.

Additionally, the rife encroachment of urbanization and industrialization has led to a reduction in available arable land.

Soilless farming, in its various iterations – hydroponics, aquaponics, and aeroponics – represents a paradigm shift in traditional agriculture. Through cultivation of crops without soil and the utilization of nutrient-rich water solutions, soilless farming offers a sustainable alternative that requires less water, minimizes the need for arable land, and enhances crop yields.

In Egypt, Plug’n’Grow, an innovative agritech enterprise, has emerged as a key player in transforming the country’s agricultural landscape. The eco enterprise specializes in providing solutions for soilless farming, offering farmers the tools and know-how to transition from conventional methods to sustainable, water-efficient practices.

The African nation is not only faced with harsh weather conditions, such as droughts, but the heavy pollution of the River Nile is also incredibly detrimental.

The wider impacts of climate change on agriculture are reportedly affecting more than half of small scale farmers in the country. According to UNICEF, Egypt is projected to have a 20-30 percent increase in the frequency of heat waves, dust storms, and drastic tidal shifts along the Mediterranean coast over the next seven years.

Planning for these changes as an inevitability, Plug’n’Grow is putting real emphasis on providing extensive training programs for the nation’s farmers. Crop diversification is encouraged as another staple, which would see a variety of different crops grown within the same area.

Not only would several seasonal drawbacks be eliminated by having a controlled environment, but further economic opportunities would also become available to farmers.

The adoption of soilless farming techniques is already showing promising results. Despite how expensive the technology is, farmers who have embraced this approach are experiencing increased yields, improved crop quality, and reduced water usage. Moreover, cultivated crops essentially eliminate soil degradation – the familiar scourge of any farmer.

Beyond these immediate benefits, soilless farming simultaneously contributes to environmental sustainability. Reducing the demand for arable land and optimizing resource use, the practices minimize the ecological footprint of agriculture, aligning with global efforts to combat climate change.

While soilless farming undoubtedly holds great promise, however, challenges such as initial setup costs, technical expertise, and resistance to new ideas pose hurdles to widespread adoption.

Nonetheless, with continued support from the government, NGOs and agritech enterprises believe there is strong potential for a transformative shift towards sustainable agriculture in Egypt.

Faced with water scarcity, food insecurity, and diminishing farmland, change is not only necessary, it is crucial. Could this set a marker for the rest of the continent and beyond?